Supply Chain Trends

Global Supply Chain Trends That Will Affect the Industry’s Future

Ever-evolving digital technology is driving change across the entire supply chain industry. For today’s supply chain professionals to remain effective, they need to stay on top of these changes and adjust their strategy accordingly.

The following are emerging supply chain trends your organization needs to pay attention to, or risk getting left behind.

Blockchain adoption

Blockchain is a digital master ledger inside a network that is used to swap data and record transactions in a secure and transparent fashion. More manufacturers are using it as a way update inefficient systems that rely on paper documents, phone calls and emails, all of which are susceptible to mistakes and corruption. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), approximately one-third of manufacturers and retailers will be using blockchain to track goods within the next three years.

In January 2018, Maersk and IBM announced a blockchain partnership that will digitize supply chains and monitor international cargo in real time. The adoption of blockchain through partnerships like these could save the industry billions of dollars annually by replacing current systems, according to industry experts.

Risk prediction and management

Risk mitigation will still be vital in the coming years; however, the way of delivering in this area is shifting. Legal issues and stakeholder attitudes on risk screening are growing, and procurement leaders will have to make use of more advanced tools to triangulate data and check for risks in the deepest areas of the supply chain.

There has been a recent explosion in the tools and technologies available for supply chain risk prediction. Many of these have sustainability factors, including ecological, ethical and human rights risk tracking. Supply chain leaders should understand and test the abilities of these tools to consider their potential interoperability with existing systems.


Industry professionals are increasingly talking about lowering the number of suppliers and third parties in their supply chains. Streamlining supply chains leads to business efficiencies and can aid in reducing uncertainty and risk.

A more efficient supply chain boosts the value of each supplier connection, which incentivizes collaboration on development opportunities and innovation. It is also important that this rationalized group of suppliers is well-positioned for the future, up-to-date with technological advances and engaged with the global trends are framing their operations. Collaborating with a smaller quantity of suppliers leads to conditions under which traceability, partnership and supplier-enabled innovation can thrive.

Robotics and automation

The IDC has projected that robotics will be found in almost one-half of fulfillment centers by 2019, growing productivity by about one-third and offsetting labor shortages. Collaborative robots are becoming simpler to program and can be modified to meet the requirements of the supply chain, working side-by-side with human employees. Robotics can also handle dangerous or repetitive jobs in distribution centers and warehouses, allowing human workers to do more rewarding work.

Work with a leading supply chain recruiting agency

At ZDA, we stay on top of the latest supply chain industry trends to better serve our clients. If your company is currently looking for a talent acquisition partner, please contact our top supply chain recruiters today.


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